How To Cope Without Smoking
Expect—and plan for—mood changes when you try to quit. You might feel irritable, restless, blue or even depressed. But you can—and should—take steps to lift your mood.
The first thing to know is that smoking doesn’t do anything to help you deal with difficult emotions. People grab a cigarette to feel better, and some people do experience a mild chemical euphoria from nicotine, but the relief is only momentary. That’s called addiction.
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Here are 10 tips to help brighten your outlook,
no matter what’s causing your stress:
- Talk to and do things with friends and loved ones. Contact with other people will help lift your mood.
- Take a timeout. A short break from a stressful or upsetting situation can help you think more clearly and make healthier decisions. When in doubt, step outside—just not where people are smoking.
- Express yourself. Call or text a friend.
- Distract yourself. Do a crossword puzzle, play a game or read a book (something to keep your hands busy).
- Get moving. Take a walk or a jog around the block. Exercise releases feel-good hormones called endorphins that lift your mood.
- Deal directly with stressful situations. If your go-to response to is to pretend they’re not there, it may be time to address them. When you bury or deny feelings, they can build up to where you explode at the slightest provocation.
- Break up large tasks into manageable segments. If you’re stressed because of overwhelming responsibilities at home or work, divide them into small steps on a to-do list. Cross off each step as you reach it, to see your progress.
- Don’t let negative thoughts take over. Whenever you feel down, make a list of things you’re grateful for.
- Give yourself a break. Instead of demanding perfection, allow yourself to be happy with doing a good job. Aim to do your best and be satisfied with the effort.
- Try the stop-think-breathe approach. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, stop what you’re doing and center yourself. Think about the big picture—sometimes problems that seem important in the moment disappear in the larger scheme of things. Then count to 10, breathe deeply and focus on calming down.